West Virginia’s ag hall of fame receives new group of inductees


WESTON, W.Va. – Seven people, including a husband and wife team, will be introduced as new inductees into the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame during the group’s 27th annual recognition dinner 6 p.m. July 7, at WVU Jackson’s Mill in Weston, W.Va.

The group recognizes those persons who have made significant contributions to the establishment, development, advancement, and improvement of the agriculture and forestry industries in West Virginia.

The honorees are John R. Elkins of Beaver; Arden Cogar Sr. of Webster Springs; William R. Maxey of Leon; Alfred L. Barr of Morgantown; Dencil J. Strader of Crawford; and Don and Mida Peterson of Horner.

John R. Elkins.

Elkins has enjoyed a distinguished research and teaching career working to restore the American chestnut tree to its prominent place in West Virginia’s forests. He developed grafting techniques that combine portions of young blight-resistant trees with native root stocks. This approach genetically safeguards the trees for resistance and quickens blight-resistant behaviors in the species’ natural environment.

Arden Cogar Sr.

Cogar developed methods to separate logs into categories including quality units, veneer, and mill logs before this was practiced at mill sites. His timber marketing experience has earned him the respect of many landowners in southeastern West Virginia. He also established more than 50 world records over several decades of competition as a world-class lumberjack.

William R. Maxey.

Maxey has been a statewide leader in the state’s forestry industry. He initiated the use of sound forest management practices during his decade-long tenure as West Virginia University forester. He served as the state forester for the West Virginia Division of Forestry for several years under former Gov. Gaston Caperton. During his tenure, the division earned increased statewide visibility and respect for its forest management achievements.

Alfred L. Barr.

Barr served as a professor and division director at the WVU College of Agriculture and Forestry for 36 years. He played an important role in the development of the Allegheny Highlands Project, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, to assist farmers in Randolph County and surrounding areas improve beef, sheep, and forage production. As associate director of the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station, he insisted that researchers focus on the state’s problems and advise producers on their findings.

Dencil J. Strader.

Strader has been a statewide leader in the agriculture and forestry industries for more than 50 years. He actively participated in the formation of soil conservation districts around the state. He has also used his certified tree farm as an outdoor classroom by hosting tours and field days.

Don and Mida Peterson.

Don and Mida Peterson have made important contributions to the state’s beef cattle industry, both individually and as a couple. They have sold their registered Angus cattle at sales in West Virginia, Ohio and Montana, and made substantial contributions to the breed’s improvement throughout the state and nation. They helped organize the West Virginia Beef Expo and have given many 4-H club members the chance to show cattle owned by their farm.


For additional information or to purchase tickets, contact Brenda Aldridge, WVU Extension Service, at 304-293-5691, ext. 3308. Tickets are $20 and must be purchased by June 25.

Checks should be made payable to the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame.

Tickets may also be obtained by contacting Denise Hunnell, WVU College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences, 304-293-2395.


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